CEO, DeSoto Technology
How did you end up in your current position?
I spent a good part of my career, approximately 15 years, working for The Walt Disney Company. I worked in Human Resources at that site for several years before transferring to the Disney Catalog Distribution Center. The catalog site eventually closed and relocated to South Carolina. I was offered the opportunity to be part of the start-up team in SC and thus, relocated in 1998. I was in SC for approximately two years when another HR opportunity presented the chance for me to return to Memphis. After a few years back in Memphis, I received a call to return to Disney…back at the Disney Store’s DC. Ironically, the facility where I started my career with Disney would eventually become the place it would end. When TWDC announced the decision to sell the Disney Store’s and close the Memphis DC, I knew then that I wanted to do something different…and I had a plan.
Fortunately, a number of things fell into place that allowed me to put that plan, the idea of starting a technology service company, into forward motion. The plan definitely had a “crawl before you walk” approach but it was moving forward. Eleven years later, what started as a simple computer repair business is now recognized as a full scale technology service and solutions provider.
What's your day-to-day routine like?
Routine? That word is almost foreign to me. There are days I do wish for routine, but more often not. Ironically, I am not a technology expert by profession. I don’t spend my days troubleshooting PC or server problems, repairing networks, programming phone systems or building websites, mobile apps, etc. However, I have surrounded myself with experts that do all of those things and more…and they are very, very good. That allows me to focus on the aspects of the business that I truly enjoy: customers’ needs, employees’ needs, the operational needs of the business, etc. Additionally, I am a member of the Southaven Rotary Club and serve on the Board as the club’s Secretary. I am also actively involved with BARC (Blackwell Animal Rescue Center) and serve as Secretary on that Board. Not to mention, my husband and I have a blended family of 5 kids, 3 dogs and a cat. Most days, it’s a lot to juggle and it’s never routine. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What are some of the challenges of the information technology field?
Keeping up with the pace in which technology changes. Often times that translates to researching, building, testing, etc. after hours and on weekends. If not, new technology will quickly leave you behind. Staffing. Finding great resources continues to be a challenge.
Your company, DeSoto Technology Group, was launched from an upstairs playroom 11 years ago. What was it like making the leap to a traditional office setting?
That move was rather easy actually. Most of my career was spent with Fortune 500 companies. So, actually, working from home took some getting used too. It took a lot of self- discipline for me to stay focused on running a business (and not doing household chores) from home. I remember feeling super excited and relieved that we were moving into commercial space and out of the upstairs playroom. I’m certain the kids were relieved too…they got their space back. Little did we know, within 24 months we would be looking to expand and moving again, doubling our space to accommodate the growth we continue to experience.
Do you have any advice to young women with an interest in your field?
Because technology changes so quickly, it is critical to stay on top of the latest and greatest in products (hardware, software, peripherals, etc.) and services such as hosted and/or cloud based solutions. My advice would be “take the initiative to learn something new every day. Don’t allow yourself to get left behind.”